WATERTOWN, S.D. (KXLG) – The Watertown Police Department reported that early Sunday morning an officer contacted the driver of a vehicle in the 200 block of 1st Street Southwest after observing the vehicle being operated in a reckless manner. Watertown Police officials say that after contacting the driver, the took off leading officers on a chase. The vehicle was located near 4th Street and 2nd Avenue after being crashed. The occupants had fled from the vehicle.
A passenger, identified as Elizabeth Meza, 28, from St Paul, Minnesota was detained on-scene. The officers were unable to locate the driver of the vehicle. Subsequent investigation revealed that the vehicle was reported as stolen in Minnesota. A search of the vehicle was conducted, which revealed approximately one ounce of methamphetamine, a small amount of marijuana, controlled prescription pills, and drug paraphernalia. Elizabeth was charged with distribution of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana less than two oz., and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Through further investigation, the driver was identified as Richard Balsimo, 33, from St. Paul, Minnesota. At approximately 8 p.m. Sunday night, officers from the Watertown Police Department, South Dakota Highway Patrol, and the Codington County Sheriff’s Office searched a residence in the 1000 block of 8th Street Northwest where Richard was located and taken into custody.
Richard has been charged with numerous drug charges, possession of a stolen vehicle, aggravated eluding, failure to report an accident immediately, and other traffic violations. A search of the residence where he was located, revealed approximately a half-pound of marijuana, methamphetamine, and drug paraphernalia. Travis Storbakken, 27, and Katie Barnes, 25, both of Watertown were also charged with numerous drug charges as a result of this ongoing investigation.